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How to Create a Project Plan in Excel

Updated July 20, 2017

A project plan is essential to any type of project. The plan must include the most important information pertaining to the project; this includes, a description, the resources, the required tasks, and estimated start and finish dates. There are many programs out there to manage a project, but an efficient plan can be created with a simple Excel spreadsheet. The grids in an Excel spreadsheet provide perfect organisation for a project and everything involved with the plan.

Gather the information needed for your project. This should already be prepared by you or your project leader before creating the plan.

Open Excel and create a new document.

In the first cell, type in your project title and a description if desired. For longer lines of text, try merging cells by holding down the "Shift" key, clicking on the cells you wish to merge, and click the "Merge and Center" button on the top toolbar.

Decide on the columns needed for your plan and type them in their own cell for each column. Sample columns can include: Task, Person Responsible, Resource, Comments, Start Date, End Date, Comments, and Completed.

Fill in the columns based on the information you and your project team have gathered. If you do not yet have information (for example, if it is not known who will perform a certain task), make a note in a "Comments" column.

Tip

Try to be as descriptive as possible in your plan to eliminate confusion. Experiment with cell formatting. For example, make important tasks have a red background, or give finished tasks a green background. If there are a lot of individuals involved in the project, try creating a drop-down menu to make assigning tasks easier.

Warning

Be sure to have the plan reviewed by your project team early in the draft stage and at completion. It is crucial that the members involved with the project agree and understand everything associated with the plan.

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About the Author

Nicolas Poague holds degrees in web development and design and computer and information sciences. He has 5 years experience in web design. He enjoys all creative activities including design, writing, and teaching individuals.